Sir Caradoc Briefbras, King of Nantes
Arthurian Literary Character
Sir Caradoc Briefbras or "Short-Arm" was a Knight of the Round Table, best known through the Livre de Caradoc, a series of stories which appears in the first continuation of Chretien de Troyes' Perceval. He was raised as the son of Caradoc the Elder, the King of Nantes; but his mother had had an affair with a sorcerer named Eliavrés who was his real father. Sir Caradoc found out the truth of his parentage at the Court of King Arthur when, like Sir Gawain, he was challenged to a beheading game by a mysterious stranger. Caradoc chopped off his opponent's head, but the corpse replaced it and, explaining that he was Caradoc's biological father, the game ended. Highly humiliated, Caradoc took Eliavrés back to his own kingdom and hid him away, imprisoned in a tower. In an attempt to escape, the wizard caused a serpent to entwine itself around his son's arm. His best friend, Sir Cador, and the latter's sister, Guignier, managed to pull the creature off, but the attack caused Caradoc's arm to shrivel away and he thus became known as "Briefbras".
Sir Caradoc later married Guignier, but his mother's infidelity made him rather paranoid concerning her faithfulness. She underwent a chastity test while the two were at Camelot, wearing a magic cloak and drinking from magic horn. The lady passed with flying colours and the couple were given the city of Cirencester as a reward.
The historic original of this character was a King of Gwent named Caradog Freichfras or "Strong Arm". The literary man should not be confused with other Arthurian knights of similar name, such as Sir Carados, the King of Scotland or the evil Sir Caradoc of the Dolorous Tower.
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